Ki Tavo

Ki Tavo: Language Barriers

September 04, 2020 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Those of us living in Canada are especially sensitive to the importance of language to the fabric of a country. The language that one speaks is, more often than not, indicative of cultural norms and attitudes. It is thus no surprise that on many an issue, the views of the people of Quebec differ sharply from those residing in the rest of the country. While it may seem strange to us today, the modern-day Zionist movement debated the question...
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Ki-Tavo: Speak Up

September 20, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
One of the key aspects of our being created in the Divine image is the gift of speech. As the world was created with ten Divine utterances (Avot 5:1), our tzelem elokim, divine image, allows us to create, or G-d forbid, destroy, many little “human” worlds through our speech. Yet strangely—perhaps brilliantly is a more apt description—there is very little a Jew must actually say.  Mitzvoth, the core of...
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Ki Tavo: The Presence of G-d

August 30, 2018 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
In the secular world in which we live it can be—and often is—hard to feel the presence of G-d. The Western world has turned religion into a private issue by establishing a wall separating church and state. Undoubtedly, this separation of church and state has had great benefits for the Jewish community. The tremendous growth and confidence of American Jewry is in no small measure due to the constitutional barring of the public...
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Ki Tavo: In the Garden of Eden

September 08, 2017 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
"And now, behold, I have brought the first fruits of the land which You have given me" (Devarim 26:10). The Israeli farmer was to express his gratitude for his bounty by bringing his first fruits to the Temple and publicly thanking G-d for the privilege of living in, and developing, the holy land. Well aware of the hard, back-breaking work the farmer did, the Torah was concerned that the farmer would see his produce more as a...
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Ki-Tavo: To Share or Not to Share

September 04, 2015 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Parshat Ki Tavo opens with the mitzvot of bikkurim, the farmers’ bringing of his first fruits of the land to the Temple, and viddui maaser, the declaration of this same farmer that all tithes have been properly distributed. On the surface these mitzvot are similar, and it is most logical that they would be juxtaposed in the Torah. Both require the farmer in the Land of Israel to acknowledge his...
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